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Casshew
01-09-2004, 05:16 PM
Public defender cuffed, consoled by client

KISSIMMEE, Florida (AP) -- A rookie public defender who exchanged words with a judge was held in contempt, handcuffed and ordered to sit in the dock with her client -- who consoled her.

Kemie King, 27, was ordered this week to sit next to jail-inmate clients in the courtroom's jury box as Circuit Judge Margaret Waller continued hearing other cases.

The incident happened during a hearing for Esteban Mercado, 48, who was accused of violating terms of his probation by driving with a suspended license.

Waller complained King arrived unprepared. King replied that it was not her fault, and she did not have the proper documents to proceed.

"Oh please, do not argue with me. Do not argue with me, or I'm going to put you in jail," Waller told King.

The two argued back and forth until the judge finally said: "Contempt."

While cuffed, King was consoled by Mercado.

"He said, 'I'm really sorry,"' King said. "I told him it really wasn't his fault."

Story Credit - CNN Offbeat News (http://edition.cnn.com/2004/US/01/09/offbeat.rookie.defender.ap/index.html)